Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Charles Osgood

Did you see Sunday Morning this week?

Always the classiest show. Even more classy in how they handled Charles Osgood's goodbye.

I used to work with Charlie. I'll get to that in a moment.

The first time I saw him in person wasn't at the television studio. I was a DJ on the radio and saw him at Shea Stadium watching his Mets. Charlie, or Charles as I knew him then, was on his way back to his seat with hot dogs and cold drinks in tow. The place was crowded and the sun was out. Perfect day for a ball game. He didn't know me from Adam but I knew who he was. What I didn't know was that I would get to know him a lot better.

I eventually landed at CBS with Harry Smith, Kathleen Sullivan and my new friend Charles. I didn't know how talented he was.  I really didn't know how nice and gracious he was.

I learned first hand.

What began as happenstance (when you're brand new, you can't pick who you work with) blossomed into a real friendship.

Things I learned from his last show included the nugget that both of us grew up in Maryland and both of us were paper boys. I was the worst,  leaving a person's newspaper at the end of their sidewalk so it could blow away. And then wondering why they wouldn't give me a tip. Charles, in an old segment, showed us the correct way to throw a newspaper on the porch. And that piece didn't say it but I'll bet he did better than fine in the tip department.
Charlie and Faith Daniels

Other things I learned...

His real name, thank you Ted Koppel, is Charles Osgood Wood.

That he began on the radio and eventually settled on television at CBS News.

Smart move CBS.

Another smart move was him never giving up his radio show--The Osgood File. I read that there is a small, select, group of people who are considered radio legends. Charles is in that group.

And he should be.

Some of my personal memories..

Throwing a birthday party for my mother and Charlie and his wonderful wife Jean came. My mom said to him, "You're so good with words, you should write a book." He gently and sweetly replied to my mom, "I've written four."

Me? I just about burst into flames.

After my stroke, I went to the CBS Broadcast Center, to see my old friend and meteorologist, George Cullen. It was early in the morning, around 6 a.m., and he wondered who might be there that early. "I know," he said, "Charlie's here." We went upstairs and there he was. He said to me, "Your book is on my desk. Could you hang around so I can interview you for The Osgood File ?"

He did and I was soon on the air coast to coast. It meant the world to me. Those are things you never forget.

Thank you Charlie.

At the end of Sunday Morning he announced the new host would be Jane Pauley. From Kuralt to Osgood to Pauley. That's a great bunch right there. After telling him it was an honor to follow in his footsteps she then said Charlie's bow tie was going to the Smithsonian.

Heady stuff.

Last but not least Charlie repeated what had been said throughout, "I'll see you on the radio."

Not a dry eye in this house.

Bonne Chance Mr. Osgood Bonne Chance.

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